The Tills Alive To The Sound Of Music

The new production of “The Sound of Music” made entertainment page headlines by shifting £10 million worth of advance tickets, although there’s been no recent news of the disagreement between its co-producers.

Three months ago, David Ian was reportedly surprised to hear Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber was suing him. He said he hadn’t realised they had a problem.

Lloyd Webber and Ian had also been co-judges of the competition to find a young actress to play Maria, a weekly prime time show on BBC television.

It was called “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?” and was won by 23-year-old Connie Fisher. The stage production of the famous Rodgers and Hammerstein musical opened at London’s Palladium in November.

Lloyd Webber, whose shows include “The Phantom Of The Opera,” “Cats” and “Starlight Express,” reportedly wanted to take the TV competition’s format to the U.S. to cast a Broadway production of “Grease,” but soon discovered Ian had already taken the idea to U.S. network NBC. They plan to look for unknowns to play Sandy and Danny.

“I don’t understand the problem. Andrew has no connection with the stage show ‘Grease,’ which I have successfully produced in the U.K.,” Ian reportedly told news services.

“There is a new production of ‘Grease’ on Broadway in the spring of 2007, that’s why I’ve been asked to judge on ‘You’re The One That We Want.'”

In January, The Stage revealed that Ian – who is chairman of Live Nation‘s theatrical division – had knocked Lord Webber from the top of the paper’s guide of the 100 most influential people in U.K. theatre.

— John Gammon